Paco Alcacer is going up against a lot of interesting strikers in the Bundesliga this season who are proven goalscorers and will hope to stake their claim on the Torjägerkanone prize, including last season’s winner Robert Lewandowski and new Eintracht Frankfurt signing, 30-year old veteran Dutch forward Bas Dost.
Paco Alcacer’s challenge for the Torjägerkanone this season became much tougher after Eintracht Frankfurt announced the signing of the veteran striker for €7m from Portuguese Liga NOS outfit Sporting Lisbon on a three-year deal. The former Wolfsburg man Dost will be playing in the Bundesliga this season again, after a first stint that saw him propel Wolfsburg to a DFB-Pokal trophy in 2015.
— Eintracht Frankfurt (@eintracht_eng) August 26, 2019
Alcacer is in his second season with Dortmund and has so far fit in perfectly into his new role as the starting striker. With his five goals from five Bundesliga games, he has proven that his impressive performances from last season where he set a new Bundesliga record for the most goals scored in a single campaign by a substitute (10) during his loan spell, prompting the club’s board to activate the option-to-buy clause in the loan contract and sign him from Barcelona for €23m, was not a fluke. Since Alcacer put pen-to-paper on a five-year contract at the Signal Iduna Park, he has made 40 appearances in all competitions for the club and scored 26 goals (via Transfermarkt).
This season, Alcacer’s path to the Torjägerkanone is largely smooth due to the presence of several creative outlets playing alongside him in Dortmund in Jadon Sancho, Thorgan Hazard, Axel Witsel and so on. However, Bas Dost is coming back into the Bundesliga on the back of a very productive three-season spell in Portugal.
— Eintracht Stats (@eintracht_stats) August 26, 2019
The veteran striker earned his clinical reputation at Wolfsburg before embarking on another journey in Portugal with Sporting Club. In his first two seasons in Liga NOS, Dost scored 36 and 34 goals across all competitions (via WhoScored). He suffered injuries which hampered his 2018/19 season. These injuries made him miss 12 games in the season, which dipped his output to 23 goals in all competitions, one more than what last season’s Torjägerkanone winner Lewandowski managed in the Bundesliga alone. Now he returns to the Bundesliga to prove he can still provide the end-product on which his reputation is built.
How they compare
Alcacer is a clinical goal-scorer whose movement in and around the box helps him create spaces which he then exploits. His movement also helps him in creating spaces for his teammates to exploit and get into good scoring positions.
However, he is easily cut out from a game if the opponents are tough to break down defensively because he is not the best at dropping deeper into the midfield to pick up balls. Opponents like this find it easy to isolate him by cutting off his supply and congesting the space around him so that he cannot create space on his own, although this doesn’t work as much.
This has already happened in three of his six matches in all competitions this season, including the Champions League game against Barcelona and the last match versus Dost’s Frankfurt. Last season, Mario Gotze was used in a more advanced role in such matches because of his passing and dribbling abilities in tight areas, and this season, Julian Brandt and Mario Gotze will be alternating in that role whenever Dortmund face such opponents.
Also, Alcacer stands at just 5’10”, which means he cannot play as a target man. Yet what he lacks in stature he more than makes up for with his intelligent runs which leads to a lot of goals. Luckily for the Spaniard, Dortmund know how to break down sides positionally when the need arises, and they succeed more often than not at doing it. Their main style of attack, however, is coming through the wings and down the middle with horizontal passing, looking to break through the half-spaces which Alcacer will be expected to find.
Dost, on the other hand, is well-known for delivering. In his first two seasons in Portugal, the striker was constantly in the running for the European Golden boot and could have probably copped one for himself if not for Lionel Messi’s brilliance aided by the Liga NOS’ low quotient. Dost possesses the finishing attributes to make Frankfurt fans forget Sebastian Haller and Luka Jovic who they lost to West Ham and Real Madrid respectively. He stands at 6’5, like Haller and is surprisingly agile in possession. His link-up style, along with the ability to hold onto possession are valuable assets guaranteed to suit Frankfurt’s fluid style. When it comes to finishing chances, his cunning is on full display for all to see – he managed a streak of 45-first time finishes in Liga NOS.
His biggest weakness is his reputation as a target man. While not the biggest problem, this works against him, especially in the Bundesliga which has become one of the fastest-paced leagues. He is adept at movement in the box, but when he has to move with the ball, he can be easily bested by a defender with some spring in his step.
However, with teammates like Daichi Kamada, Erik Durm, Gelson Fernandes who are very mobile, a lethal finisher like Dost will provide focus and confidence. His Frankfurt teammates will want to feed him. Prior Bundesliga experience where he scored 48 goals and provided 14 assists in 117 appearances for Wolfsburg (via Transfermarkt) will also come in handy in making the adjustment from Sporting to Frankfurt.
Dost is technically inferior to Alcacer, as the Spaniard is a better creator and a better attacker. This is all because the Dortmund man can move and is not just limited to movements in the box.
Alcacer can drift wide if necessary, and come in from wider positions to finish a move. He can also whip in crosses from either flank, even though not as expertly as his teammates Sancho and Hazard. However, Dost’s tactical superiority helps him find spaces better than Alcacer does, which is why he’s such a great target man.
Just like Alcacer at Dortmund, Dost complements the rest of the Frankfurt squad’s attacking players. His frame will also enable him to perform the role of holding up the ball that Haller did so well. Also, Eintracht Frankfurt are coming off the back of two consecutive DFB Cup final appearances – one of them ending in triumph – as well as a run to last season’s Europa League semi-finals. This confidence will be boosted with the presence and experience of Dost in the team.
Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt have already had their first encounter in the Bundesliga season, in a match that ended 2-2 after an unfortunate Thomas Delaney own goal in the latter stages of the game. Alcacer didn’t perform so well, having to be replaced by Mario Gotze in the 76th minute and earning only a 6.4 SofaScore rating.
Dost – who is yet to start his first match for Frankfurt – came on as a 79th-minute substitute in that match and earned a 6.9 SofaScore rating for his constant terrorising of Dortmund’s backline.
Dost is sure to score a lot for Frankfurt and will be a big threat in Alcacer’s bid to claim the prize for himself this season. Alcacer and Dortmund will do well to work on the Spaniard’s shortcomings so that he can stay ahead of the curve, and hopefully catch up to Lewandowski who currently leads the race for the Bundesliga 2019/20 Torjägerkanone prize.